How can we change habits that no longer serve us? We meditate.

I learned how to meditate as part of my Kundalini yoga practice. In the Kundalini tradition, we follow through with a practice for 40, 90, or 120 days. Each of these numbers has a specific meaning:

40 days changes a habit

90 days establishes a new habit

120 days makes that new habit a part of who you are

In the past, I would have many fabulous ideas that I never followed through on. I’d say I’d do something and not show up. I was disappointed in myself, and others were disappointed in me. But this has all changed.

Through my discipline, I have become someone I can depend on. And I have created a life that I can depend on. I don’t have to push so hard anymore. Old worn-out habits have been reigned in and replaced by new ways of being that feel right in my heart and soul.

Here’s a breathing practice that will help you move away from unwanted habits. Give it a try it for 40 consecutive days and take note of how you feel.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

1.     Sit cross-legged or in a chair or stand in a comfortable position.

2.     Relax your left arm and rest your left hand on your lap with the palm facing up.

3.     Lift your right arm and press your right thumb against your right nostril. Your right nostril should be closed off but not in a way that’s uncomfortable.

4.     Inhale slowly through your left nostril.

5.     As you breathe in, raise your left hand to your face, bringing your left thumb to cover your left nostril. Simultaneously, your right thumb releases the right nostril.

6.     When the inhale is over and the exhale begins, the left arm is raised with the left thumb gently closing the left nostril, and the right arm is relaxed with the palm facing the ceiling. Make sure to move your arms in a fluid, gentle rhythm. The motions of the arms should be in sync with the inhalation of the breath. Perform this breath to a repeating count of ten or as long as is comfortable for you to hold your breath.

7.     Repeat the motions above for three to six minutes of breathing.

8.     Close the practice by releasing both nostrils and taking a deep breath in. Hold the breath for a count of ten, then exhale slowly.

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